“I hope to change people’s minds”: Ellie Goldstein on pushing boundaries in the fashion industry

Written by Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

The model and performer is taking on a new role as an ambassador for the learning disability charity Mencap. Here, she talks to Stylist about her career in the fashion industry and her goals for the future.

Ellie Goldstein isn’t afraid to chase her dreams. At the age of five, she knew she wanted to be a model, and in 2020, she made history as the first model with Down syndrome to feature in a campaign for Gucci Beauty.

“I felt honoured to be picked by Gucci,” she tells Stylist. “The shoot was a lot of fun. My make-up was minimal because it was a shoot for a new mascara, but I got to wear two outfits – one was a black dress with a white panel on the front with blue gems on it, and the other was a top and matching trousers with diamante-encrusted GGs all over it. The whole thing was just amazing.”

Since starring in that campaign for Gucci, Goldstein has gone on to star in campaigns for Adidas, Victoria’s Secret and George – but despite all of this success, Goldstein doesn’t use her off time to enjoy some (well deserved) rest. 

In fact, when she’s not modelling, she’s using her platform to advocate for people with disabilities and serve as a role model to others with Down syndrome – a passion that led her to her latest role as one of 18 new ambassadors (a group known as The Myth Busters) for the learning disability charity Mencap. 

“I want to see more diversity out there, and I want to see more models with disabilities being accepted by the fashion industry,” Goldstein tells Stylist. “I want to break down stigma, bust myths and campaign for better inclusion – and this role helps me to do that.” 

Alongside using her voice to speak up for people with learning disabilities, Goldstein is proud that her presence in the fashion industry – and the almost 100,000 Instagram followers she’s garnered as a result – sends a clear message to both brands and consumers.

That kind of visibility is especially important when you consider recent research by Mencap found that two in five people in the UK had not seen someone with a learning disability in the media in the last year – and that two-thirds of Brits do not know what a learning disability is. 

“I hope to change people’s minds, and show that having Down syndrome doesn’t stop you from achieving your dreams,” Goldstein explains. 

“While growing up with a learning disability has attracted some negatives – mostly from other people – there have been plenty of positives too. I may be a little slower in some things, but I always get there in the end.” 

Ellie is a Myth Buster for the learning disability charity Mencap, who want the UK to be the best place in the world for people with a learning disability to live happy and healthy lives. 

Image: India Whiley-Morton for Mencap

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